Our Story

Design Challenge

#2: How might we encourage our community to support one another and look out for those who are socially isolated?

Project Description

The project aims to engage the socially isolated elderly, especially in times of COVID-19. This is through asking them to share their personal stories, hobbies, their favourite past times and how they are affected by COVID-19. The sharing can be done in different forms of art (e.g. paintings, drawings, embroidery etc), writings and shared using traditional mailing or online platform if those around (e.g. neighbours/volunteers) have the resources, voice recorded which will be translated and transcribed. These stories will then be written with photos of their art & illustrations (2 pages per story) and will be made into a book with their names in their story (optional) and given to them. The books will also be printed for sale (on a pre-order basis) and the earnings will be shared with them.

Criteria #1: Value

Target audience: Socially isolated elderly who does not have the resources to go to the online space. With the COVID-19 situation, physical and social activities are restricted, this may increase their loneliness, makes them feel more unheard and in some cases, affecting their livelihoods. This increases their risk of health consequences like depression, poor sleep quality or malnutrition.

Hence, “our Story” creates 1) a personal project for them so that they’re engaged during this period of time, 2) allow them to feel heard where people will be reading their stories and 3) earn some cash from sharing their stories.

Criteria #2: Inspiration

There is a lack of awareness of the socially isolated elderly, and this is worsened with the COVID-19 situation. And even if volunteers visit these elderlies, the conversations they share will be limited to themselves only. Hence, the idea of sharing it to everyone through the book, would be closer to the elderlies’ heart when they do not have resources to go online. Furthermore, because “a pictures is worth a thousand words”, illustrations will be added to aid understanding for those who are fluent in different languages/dialects.

Criteria #3: Impact

In addition to solving the problems, the project would also benefit them by 1) giving them ownership in being part of the creation of the book 2) raising awareness and increasing interest from the public– in turn increasing the engagement from them 3) sharing their little joys/achievements in life, allowing them to recognize that these are valuable and 4) creating a community within them (with the book sent to them reminding them that they are not alone).

Criteria #4: Timeliness

1st month: Marketing design: website, social media and for print
2nd + 3rd month: Launch: Collection of stories + Marketing for pre-order of books
3rd + 4th month: Illustration of stories
5th month: Finalizing book + print
6th month: Delivery
(Gantt chart in picture as attached)

Criteria #5: Systems Thinking

Currently, even though activities at the centres are halted, organizations like Lions Befrienders have volunteers that make weekly phone calls or face-to-face checks on the elderlies. However, these are not enough during the COVID period. Hence, “our story” can work in great tandem with what Lion Befrienders have been doing, adding value to them by providing the elderly a home project for them to work on during their free time.